OK. I might be biased but this is ridiculous…

People of Newcastle I salute your home pride.  Deluded as it is.  If I was being unbiased I’d say Manchester.  As it is I voted for Edinburgh.

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The NABS Music Quiz 2009

The Nightfly
The Nightfly

Oh, what a night.  In the end 72 finely honed competitors turned up for the third NABS music quiz, including reigning champions Multiply who doubled up their effort to see if they could defend their hard fought trophy.  But they were reckoning without Mino (Fucking) Russo who ringed for the winning team.  More on that later.

From my perspective the night got off to a stinker.  Jeana, who had the PA, the questions (and answers) and the marking team in the boot of her car chose to leave the house (40 minutes away) at the time I asked her to arrive.  As a consequence a great cloud of gloom and frustration hung over the Nightlfly’s head (that’s me) aswe set up at the last minute.

Not a moment was available to spin those wheels of steel.  In fact the wheels of fucking steel weren’t even working to begin with.

But in time we got things going and the evening commenced with a satisfying enough and incident free first round about numbers in songs.

Hmmm.  Interesting speech Kate.
Hmmm. Interesting speech Kate.

Team names were as good as you’d imagine from the creative world.  ie not very.

Thin Quizzy

The STV opt outs

Troy Division

Michale Barrymore’s swimming club (who werre deucted a point for bad taste)

Guy Robertson’s Home Wreckers

Quiz De Burgh

Let’s get quizzical (surely googled)

Drumb and Drumber and Richard the C***

Now, the Drum were publicly admonished for calling their editor a C*** in the team mate and also docked a point.  I can reveal that this issue rolled on post match and after consultation with his mother Richard has confirmed that the team name was indeed appropriate and the point has subsequently been reinstated, not that it matters because they were pish.  (coming in 16th of 18).  Well I caveat that; they were excellent in the musicals round where Stephen (the virgin) Lepitak showed all the skills of a forty something housewife and swept the board.  (Shame they didn’t play their joker, which in fact they did in the first round with all the tactical nous of Kevin Keegan.)

We go to 11 (get it?  I didn’t.  It’s a Spinal tap ref)

Def Lepers (nice)

Jackson 4 (tasteful)

Anyway.  Round 5 had to be canceled  (the highly controversial itunes genre round) because I forgot to print out the answers and my entire family fell out with me because their late arrival had set a 9.6 out of 10 stress level in me and I was a touch touchy to begin with.

But as the evening wore on it became more and more convivial with record bar takings.

The bonus points awarded to best dancers for The Time Warp were scooped by The STV Opt Outs which helped them in their bitter war of attrition with the Scotsman (Thin Quizzy) with the final result being a wafer thin victory to STV (88.5 and a creditable 5th place) to The Scotsman’s (87 and 7th place).

It ain't fucking 'strictly' is it...
It ain’t fucking ‘strictly’ is it…

In the end quality shone through and Newhaven’s team led by Troy Farnsworth (Troy Division) held out to win back the trophy they won in the inaugural competition in 2007 by 7 points to beat Spinal Crap into second (after a stewards enquiry arithmetical incompetence by my daughter Amy revealed that the team we though were second (the DP’s) were in fact third with 91.)

The scoreboard (note lack of fifth round)
The scoreboard (note lack of fifth round)

That means Mino (fucking) Russo got his hands on the trophy for the second time.  He worked at Fopp you know.  He may be banned next time from playing a ringer’s role.

Mino (fucking) Russo and 'that'
Mino (fucking) Russo and ‘that’

My old mucker, Rob Morrice

Rob’s running a B2B agency called IAS in Macclesfield and he loves a bit of controversy.  Mostly he loves telling folk how they are ingrained in convention and that they should learn from his own way of zagging when everyone else zigs.

Here he tells Manchester how to get their collective arses in gear.  Like me, he likes a short para!

Rob had to retouch out the P and J sign because he's moved on these days.

Rob had to retouch out the P and J sign behind him because he's moved on these days.

AT THE HEIGHT OF A RECESSION, ROB MORRICE RECKONS THAT AGENCIES WOULD DO WELL TO ADOPT THE MANTRA – YOUR MOST IMPORTANT ACCOUNT IS YOUR OWN.

It never ceases to amaze me that Agencies ignore the basic fundaments of B2B Marketing when marketing themselves.  Before I joined, IAS broke most of its own segmentation rules in its marketing efforts, particularly in its approach to timeline segmentation. And most agencies do the same.

If an agency manages to extract a client out of a relationship with another agency that the client believes is doing a good job, then it’s the exception that proves the rule.

And the rule is that the client decides when it wants to change agency.

With this as a core belief, the task is to be positively front of mind at the time when a client goes to pitch.

And – horror of horrors –  this means you have to spend a lot of money targeting a lot of people a lot!

Because, with the exception of public sector contracts, it’s almost impossible to know when a pitch is going to happen.

A good New Business person can find out some stuff which might not be in the public domain by building up relationships and mining a limited number of clients, but the sheer volume of prospects agencies are targeting precludes us from employing enough New Business people to build up that type of personal relationship across the board.

This means that an agency marketing strategy is simple to describe but will expend a lot of time, effort and money to implement.

You have to meticulously gather the names, addresses and email addresses of all of your prospects and consistently build-up dialogue with them over a long period of time.

At IAS, We have a database of over 6000 UK B2B spenders and we target to communicate with them at least once a month. We use every club in the golf bag. PR, Trade Advertising, Books,  D Mail, Email, Events, Networking, Sales Promotion, Sponsorship, White Papers, Blogs, Social Marketing, levering award wins and anything else we can think of.

For the first six months of this new strategy, very little happened but as we’ve persevered, the phone started to ring more and more with clients asking us to pitch. And of course people are starting to talk about us and a snowball effect ensues.

This is not a particularly politically correct way to describe it but it’s a bit like Blitzkrieg, We blanket bomb our audience so we are assured of getting to the ones who are thinking of going to pitch.

This might sound a costly way of doing it, but its not. We spend barely 3% of our revenue.

The problem however is that Advertising Agencies are a greedy bunch of bastards who allocate no real marketing budget. Hands up those who have spent money with The Drum this year.

And – I would say this of course – most are not B2B savvy so they either don’t know or ignore the basics of B2B Marketing.

Over the years a few agencies have got a bit right; but not many.   My old agency SMARTS used to be good at it before Media Square re-invented it as a PR shop. (He would say that.  Ed.)

My old pal Mark Gorman, had the hang of it when he was MD of 1576 and in his consultancy career at Think Hard since. For example, Mark’s is the top marketing blog in Scotland.  (He said that to suck up and get his article published.  Ed.)

Another Scottish marketing consultant mate of mine was complaining recently that Mark got all the best consultancy projects going and couldn’t understand why.

I had to tell him in no uncertain terms that the fact clients had heard of Mark might have something to do with it.

The point I’m making here I think is an obvious one. Clients aren’t stupid and when they hear the old wah wah which agencies spout about marketing your way out of a recession, the least they’d expect is for us to practice what we preach.

Rob’s last point is a good one and regular readers of this blog will be aware of my involvement in this very practice with 60 Watt.  Here’s an example…

squander-bug-hi-res

An online marketing experiment from the 90’s

Back in the day I effectively “commissioned” these films for use as viral mailers for our ad agency 1576.  My partners David and Adrian answered the brief to come up with something distinctive and daring and I felt that it would be hypocritical of me to knock them back.  After all I was often critical of our clients who weren’t ‘brave’ enough to buy challenging work.

So we went for it.  The ‘target audience’ was marketing directors who wanted work that would be noticed.  The first in the series was entitled ‘Bonk’.

I remember showing them with glee to my dad pointing out how challenging we were.  The look on his face said’ Mark you are a fucking idiot’ what he said was.  ‘Hmmm, not sure if thse will do you an awful lot of good really.’

And so to the second spot…’Exit’

We shot them in our client’s premises one Sunday at Granite House in Glasgow.  Direct Holidays it was.  funnily enough we lost the business not so long after.  The third in the series was ‘Toss’.  My personal favourite.

I took my kids to the shoot and they christened the man in the specially commissioned penis suit ‘Mr Mushroom Head’

To add longevity to the campaign we even made a seasonal spot.

But probably the most tasteless of the sorry and sordid episode was this closer…

But did it work you ask?

Put it this way.  My dad called it right.

We had several calls to remove names from databases.  Our competitot=rs captured them and allegedly sent them to clients before pitches asking if they really wanted to work with an agency that made self promotion trailers like this.

BUT.  We retained our integrity.  AND we certainly stood out.

Judge for yourselves.  I’d be interested to know, ten years later, what you REALLY thought at the time.